Honoring Newington Volunteer Diane Labedzki

Volunteer Role: Dog Walking, laundry room assistant

Length of Service: 19 years

I chose CHS for my volunteer work because… for over 40 years I cared for people in an RN role. Now it was time to care for animals that I love- dogs. So many animals are mistreated or abused and need advocates to end their abuse and regain their trust. I volunteer to bring love and trust to as many animals as I can.

Something new I learned by volunteering at CHS was… that dog behavior can change without any warning. Most of the time they give you clues you should pay attention to.

If I was a CHS pet, my kennel card would say… Sweet and lovable. Loves treats and walks.

The animal that has had the biggest impact on my life is… Foxy, a terrier mix. I adopted him from CHS 11 1/2 years ago. I knew from the first time I saw him that he would be my companion. But I also had a soft-spot for Pierce who was adopted recently.

The thing that surprised me the most about working with pets was… that they are adaptable to trauma. An animal who loses a limb can be as active as a healthy animal. If you have the trust of a dog he is your friend forever.

The little things I do to help make a pets’ stay at CHS better are… I spend more time with the animals that need extra attention and love. I donate to CHS to purchase medical equipment to improve their lives.

My advice for new volunteers is… to always keep your eye on the dog you are walking especially when close to other dogs or animals. They can be dog-aggressive or can bolt to go after other animals.

My favorite things to do outside of CHS are… to read, travel and to enjoy different foods. When I travel I attend food tours to sample the foods of that area.

My hidden talent is… being adventurous, even at my age. I enjoy the outdoors and I can do new things on my own.

If I could have any job in the world… it would working with dogs, such as a vet technician. I would not want to be a vet because I could not make the life/death decisions they have to make.

One way the pets have changed me for the better is… by providing love and companionship in a time that it is needed. When experiencing a loss or sadness pets give you support to make you feel better. They get you through the tough times.